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 Category:  General Fiction
  Posted: May 12, 2020      Views: 100
 ...Prologue 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 

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I am a semi-retired high school math teacher (part-time only now!) who has a passion for fantasy/sci-fi as well as romance literature. I have three fantasy and/or sci-fi novels that I shall now shamelessly list for you to pick up on Amazon or Barnes& - more...

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Chapter 8 of the book The Gardens at Weatherbury
Earn Points to 'catch up' on early chapters-see Red Note
"How to Train Your Imp" by Y. M. Roger

Summary: After accepting the position as Groundskeeper (**See End Notes), Nicholas is discovering all about the fantastical Gardens he'll be in charge of. Here, we get to know the imps... a bit.

SPECIAL NOTE:  Through May 16th, you can also earn points and bucks for EVERY CHAPTER of the book up to this one. Just pop over to my Portfolio and it’s right there on top! Don’t miss out on this fun adventure! And, yes, each one is only about 500 words, folks! ;)
End of Chapter 7:
But Archie, quite unruffled, turned toward me and bowed in another of his regal flourishes. Then he stood and began licking the spray can.
“They shall show proper respect from now on,
Groundskeeper,” Archie chided between licks. Curiously, his voice was raised as if speaking to someone other than myself. He licked the spray can one more time and replaced the lid. He then reached inside his armor behind him, pulled out some blueberries, and leaned toward the ground. “Won’t ye, imps?”

BEGIN Chapter 8…
The imps either stood or sat on the ground and glared up at Archie. Each of them was covered completely in honey. Two of them actually looked contrite while the other two kept shooting glances between Archie and myself – their upper set of arms folded in defiance.
I was busy trying to wipe the honey off my own face with my shirt. It really was almost like wet glue! Looking down at the imps, I think I might have been a bit scared of the two trying to look menacing if they weren’t so small. Oh, and ve-e-e-ery sticky…
“Well?” Archie chided, as he handed the two more docile imps their blueberries. They each nodded heartily with a playful smile as they took the proffered berries. A chorus of yes and most certainly sang between them.
But Archie drew the remaining berries back toward him as the other two remained staunchly defiant.
“Shot? Jerry?” Archie called them by name and raised himself to ‘full’ height again – still small for an armadillo but quite large to the honeyed imps – as he held one blueberry up, waiting for their acquiescence. He rolled it slowly, tauntingly, between two of his clawed ‘fingers’.
“Ye imps are so stupid!” Constantine chided them in an exasperated voice just above a whisper. “Yer new Groundskeeper’s here, so ye know what he’s gonn–”
Before Constantine finished, Archie’s long tongue darted out, snagged the berry, and disappeared again. I was horrified.
“Sir Archie that wasn’t ni–” But I wasn’t able to finish.
Shot and Jerry instantly transitioned into two completely different personalities.
The one that Constantine had held earlier – Shot, apparently – went back into exploding chili pepper mode. Of course, he couldn’t fly weighted down with all the honey, but he managed to stir up a bunch of dust that immediately stuck to him. Everywhere. I think he was screeching obscenities, but it was hard to understand him. And he was turning into a real, muddy mess. The other imp, Jerry, simply fell over and died.
Well, okay, so that’s what I thought at first until I realized he had actually thrown himself on the ground! He lay on his back, wailing and moaning with hands clasped over his chest, about how they were all abused and that he, in particular, would die of starvation before sundown.
“And now I’ll die starving and dirty because our lot in life is to be mistreated by… by… Aaaaahhh, have mercy! Please!”
He rolled up to his lower set of knees, holding his other two sets of hands in a praying position, and looked up at me.
“Oh, glorious and impressive Groundskeeper,” he implored so pitifully, “please make the pink abomination give me the remaining berry of power!”
“Nooooo!!” Shot screeched, running toward Jerry and pushing him over. Shot continued his tirade. “It’s mine, Groundskeeper! He hit me with his, so he shouldn’t get anoth–”
Jerry quickly stood, put all four upper hands to his chest and dramatically ‘fell’ over again, back on the ground.
“Abused!” Jerry called out, all six legs flopping once for each clause, “That’s what I am, I tell you, oh mighty Groundskeeper! Save me! Give me the berry of po–”
Shot dived on top of Jerry, and they really got after it. They became a big ball of dust and blinking lights and whines and tiny growls until…
At some point during their performance, Archie had retrieved an old tin can filled with water. As I watched in wonder and Constantine shook his head muttering, the two imps quickly separated. They sat there, soaking wet and sputtering, in the middle of a small puddle.
And the other two? They started dancing and cheering and shouting at Archie.
“Now us, Sir Archibald! Now us! Now us! It’s our turn now!”

 To be continued…
**The Gardens at Weatherbury is a collection of approximately 500-600 word chapters about young Nicholas' continuing adventures as Groundskeeper to the unique gardens at the fantastical Weatherbury Estate. The chapters are short to maintain the attention of a pre-teen audience for whom it is written.

Nicholas (narrator) - young boy (current age 17), telling of adventures since accepting Weatherbury's Groundskeeper job at age 14.
Constantine – garden gnome and self-appointed on-site manager of the Gardens
Rosalind – (aka Rosa) sentient climbing rosebush whose job it is to guard the Garden Shed
Sir Archibald – (aka Archie or Sir Archie) eccentric pink armadillo tasked with organization and upkeep of the Garden Shed
Imps – (an imp is a small mischievous sprite) We have met Jerry and Shot. There are a total of four imps.

Sir Phillipe - owner of Weatherbury Estate

George Thrasher – (aka G-Trash according to Constantine) former Groundskeeper, employment terminated by Sir Phillipe in Prologue



Author Notes
Probably the longest chapter thus far, but I didn't want to interrupt Jerry's dramatic performance... lol!

Thank you, as always, for reading me! ;-)

Image of 'Secret Garden Door' from Pinterest [www.pinterest.ca]

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